The Student Government Association opened its 59th senate session with an executive report from President Devon Skinner discussing a possible tuition increase from the university administration.
Skinner said a 1.9 percent tuition increase was discussed for the first time in four years at the most recent meeting of the university’s Board of Regents.
“My understanding is that we are trying to retain staff,” Skinner said. “And we want to make sure that we’re keeping the staff that we have, the professors, janitorial staff and other staff outside of the academia world at UNT. From what I’ve heard, that’s kind of the primary purpose for the tuition increase. Of course, there’s other factors involved in that.”
According to the admissions website, the average annual cost of attendance for an undergraduate student living on campus and enrolled in 15 hours is $26,554 per semester. The possible tuition increase would amount to $27,058.50 per semester.
Skinner said he could not provide further information about the possible tuition increase.
Skinner also addressed current student concerns such as parking issues, students facing financial aid complications due to poor grades received during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Denton County Transportation Authority’s GoZone program.
“We followed up on some concerns that we saw through social media regarding some parking issues,” Skinner said. “That’s always an issue year to year, but I’d seen an increase in [parking] comments about that.”
The senate also approved the 2021-2022 SGA fiscal year budget after Chief of Staff Casey Jimenez presented the $104,690.12 plan.
There were some questions from senators about the increase of the $5,200 intern program director budget total. The communications director budget was cut from $12,000 to $5,175, with the funds reinvested into the SGA intern program. Jimenez said he believes that it will have a better outcome for the program.
Andy McDowall, senator for the College of Engineering, said his main concern was whether the increased budget is going to the proper program.
“Of course, I want the intern program to thrive,” McDowall said. “I just want to make sure we’re making sure our money is going where we’re saying it’s going.”
Other executive reports revolved around plans for future town hall meetings where students can voice their concerns.
Zoe Brown, assistant diversity and inclusion director, said she is having minor issues with campus police agreeing to participate in a proposed town hall meeting.
“We want one town hall event where everybody can come out and voice their concerns and have a neutral conversation,” Brown said. “But UNT P.D. has voiced they feel like it will be a little bit safer to have multiple small sessions, which is something that I have a personal issue with.”
Outreach Director Maya Stevens said they are waiting for the approval of a town hall project regarding campus living issues. Stevens said the plan is to visit various residence halls three days a week to gather student concerns. Stevens plans to have an interactive Qualtrics survey ranging from questions on housing to safety.
“I want to gather enough feedback and information to plan future town halls focus on repeating student concerns,” Stevens said.
Featured Image: SGA President Devon Skinner presents his executive report to college senators during a meeting on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo by Jami Hitchcock